BRUSSELS: For weeks now, the world has borne witness to a cruel illegal onslaught in Mariupol by Russia leading to wide-scale destruction of the city, including atrocities against civilians, under a twisted pretext of “liberating” the city. Thousands of its inhabitants have been deported to Russia or forcibly displaced to the non-government controlled areas of Ukraine.
Despite the Russia-inflicted carnage, over 100,000 civilians remain in Mariupol, including as many as a thousand who may have taken refuge in the Azovstal steel plant, defended by Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
We commend Ukraine for its efforts to finding a diplomatic solution for the evacuation of civilians and regret that the Russia is not reciprocating.
The EU supports Ukraine’s appeal on Kremlin to allow the safe evacuation of Mariupol’s civilians. Humanitarian corridors have to be created immediately, with necessary ceasefire assurances, from Azovstal and other areas of the city to other parts of Ukraine. Free and safe access for those delivering humanitarian assistance must be ensured, in line with basic human rights principles and international humanitarian law.